Daily Event for March 23

On November 16, 1907 Oklahoma became the 46th State of the Union, only seven years later on March 23, 1914 the Oklahoma (battleship #37) was named and christened by Miss Lorena Jane Cruce, the daughter of the governor of Oklahoma. She slid down the ways at New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey. The launch itself went off without a hitch, however it was not without controversy.

At the time of the launch Oklahoma was a "dry" State and prohibitionists requested that alcohol not be used to christen the ship, in the end a bottle of champagne was used and Miss Cruce stated "father was deluged with letters from ministers and Prohibitionists asking that mineral water be used. But you know the sailors are superstitious about it, so it was champagne for the christening".

The ceremony also included an invocation read by Bishop E. E. Hoss from Muskogee, Oklahoma dedicating the ship to "errands of peace and Christianity". This was the first time a prayer had been read at the launch of a U.S. battleship in fifty years. USS Oklahoma was one of the battleships sunk at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, she was later raised, but sank while being towed back to the mainland.
© 2010 Michael W. Pocock

From left to right; Elizabeth Ames, Madeline Connyngham and Lorena Jane Cruce at the launch ceremony of Oklahoma. Nineteen year old Lorena Cruce, whose father was white and mother was Indian (half Choctaw and half Chickasaw), was said to be one of the most beautiful girls in all of Oklahoma.

Launch of the battleship Oklahoma.

March 24, 1922: Front page of the Orange County Times-Press, Middletown, New York announcing the launch of the battleship Oklahoma.

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